The Making of a Yankee Fourtune

It was time to come up with a trim design for our third hat in this year’s “Hats Off to the Horses” Derby hat auction series for Old Friends, and all I could think of were anemone flowers!

I was creating the hat to honor a relative newcomer to Old Friends: Kentucky-bred multiple stakes winner, Yankee Fourtune.

YankeeFortune-RickCapone3-FramedAs I turned my focus toward this son of Madam Ann, everything in his history seemed to be in shades of green and white.

Yankee Fourtune was bred in Kentucky’s bluegrass country (Brereton C. Jones) and is best remembered for his career on grass (back-to-back turf wins in the Hawthorne Derby and the Commonwealth Turf Stakes).

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess1-Web.MedThrough the years, Yankee’s coats had turned from dark dappled grey to a much white shade of dapple. And his racing silks… were green and white.

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess2-Web.MedI was starting to believe that maybe it was time to take a look again at the anemone flower trim I had been dreaming about trying for years now in my hatmaking business…

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess3-Web.MedYet color alone is never the only factor in determining the best trims for a given horse that I am representing.

The deciding factor was Yankee Fourtune’s spirit. It appeared that this nearly white gelding had had a soothing effect on everyone he’d met at Old Friends, including Game on Dude, whom he’d seemed to have hypnotized since their first meeting!

GameOnDude-YankeefFourtune-LauraBattles1-Framed-MedWhen asked about Yankee Fourtune, Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, said, “Yankee Fourtune exudes a perfect combination of grit and kindness. (He’s) become one of the most lovable retirees at Old Friends. Also, he thinks his hat is as special as he is.“

YankeeFortune-RickCapone4-FramedAnd so it was decided. This gentle son of Yankee Gentleman would be honored with my very first, delicate anemone flower!

Fabrics were chosen, sketches drawn, and the creative process got underway.

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess5-Web.MedThe foundation for the “Yankee Fourtune” hat was going to be in silver dupioni, so I rolled out just enough silk for a flat, wide brim hat design.

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess6-Web.MedLayers of ruffled pale silver organza, top stitched with silver thread, were then created for the outer brim layers to reflect the movement of the Thoroughbred athlete at full gallop. A band of matching ruched organza was stitched to the ruffled brim edges and finished off with a gentle swish of swirling organza along the back brim.

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess10-Web.MedThen came the anemone.

After studying the flower and sketching all of the basic shapes, the first step was to sculpt several rows of white silk organza “petals”. Each petal was delicately top stitched with silver thread.

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess8-Web.MedI took a shimmering black pebble button for the center of the flower, then  surrounded it by a ring of softly gathered green tulle and an outer ruched layer of charcoal silk organza.

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess7-Web.MedA medley of slender emerald green silk and taffeta leaves were next, individually wired and shaped, and fashioned to frame the flower in a kind of “sprawling” anemone-fashion.

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess9-Web.MedFive long slender charcoal silk organza “feathers”, a MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® trademark, were carefully stitched, layered and shaped to add a splash of dramatic detail to the floral trim.

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess11-Web.MedA layered charcoal silk organza sash, lined with emerald green dupioni silk, was handcrafted to encircle the crown of the hat.

For the finishing touch, a shimmering black button was set to adorn the back.

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess14-Web.MedA soft white brocade was chosen for the lining of the “Yankee Fourtune” to match the gracefully aging gelding’s coat.

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess15-Web.MedThe finished “Yankee Fourtune” hat design measures nearly 26 inches across inclusive of the ruffled brim layers.

As a physical remembrance of Yankee Fourtune, several strands of the gelding’s tail hair were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Yankee Fourtune not only in spirit but in substance as well.

The finished hat was photographed in our studio…

YankeeFourtune-HatProcess16-Web.MedAnd shipped on its way to Old Friends for the grand photo shoot with Jamie Hernandez and her family!

A special thank you to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos who once again worked their photographic magic that day. And a big thank you as well to Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky for furnishing the stunning silver dress that Jamie wore which beautifully matched the chapeau. You can view it all in this behind-the-scenes glimpse of the photo shoot by Wendy…

Special thanks to Jamie Hernandez and her husband Brian, for being such super models, and their little girl Joshlyn who simply stole the show in her hot pink polka dot fascinator from the new “Little Silver Charm Kids’ Hat Collection”!

LittleSilverCharmKidsHatsCollection-ComingSoonPoster1-MedThe “Yankee Fourtune” auction hat is now up for bid on EBay and bidding ends Tuesday, January 12th at 8 PM EST.

Please also enjoy this slideshow of the “Yankee Fourtune” chapeau and the horse who inspired it.

Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses, and here’s to our best auction season yet!  🙂


About the Auction:

To learn more about Yankee Fourtune, the horse, please visit the Yankee Fourtune horse webpage.

For more information about the “Yankee Fourtune” Chapeau please visit the Yankee Fourtune hat webpage.


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